The Belfast flyweight was said to be close to securing a shot at WBO champion Sho Kimura next month on the Mick Conlan homecoming bill but it now seems he is chasing down the man dethroned by the Japanese fighter.
Zou Shiming [9(2)-2(1)] has apparently been in talks with the Team Barnes with a view to appearing on the undercard of a stadium fight night topped by Carl Frampton on August 18th according to the Irish News.
No world title will be on the line but Shiming brings plenty of narrative and would be deemed a bigger name than the reigning champ.
The Chinese fighter twice knocked Barnes out of the Olympics at the semi-final stage, first in Beijing by a 15-0 margin and then four years later in London on a razor-thin 15-15 countback.
The former world champion also defeated ‘The Leprechaun’ in the 2007 World Amateur Championships.
Barnes has never hid his desire to rematch the Chinese fighter in the pro’s but it looked like his chance had gone when Shiming lost his WBO title when Kimura stopped him in July of last year.
Reports in China at the turn of the year suggested the 37-year-old was on the verge of retiring due to an eye issue that needed serious medical attention.
Indeed, the amateur legend hasn’t fought since his July defeat but if the reports of talks are true, he has seemingly been passed clear to fight and could return against Barnes in what would be a massive fight on a massive night for Belfast.
A stellar 2017 for Barnes saw him pick up the WBO European and Inter-Continental rankings belt and climb to #6 in the rankings. He called for a fight with Kimura earlier this year and has been training constantly over the past few months, dividing his time between Scotland and Spain.
Shiming is currently sat at #8 in the WBO 112lbs ladder.
Cliftonville little man Barnes would be one of the chief supports on a bill topped by his fellow North Belfast man Frampton.
An opponent for ‘The Jackal’ is still to be confirmed but, if promoter Frank Warren is to be believed, we can expect an announcement either today or tomorrow.
No undercard fighters have been confirmed for the big stadium fight night. However, by process of elimination, factoring in those who appear on the Conlan Homecoming bill at the SSE Odyssey Arena six weeks previously, there could be big fights for the likes of Tommy McCarthy and Jamie Conlan.